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Following a clean bill of health, Quinn the therapy dog took his turn ringing the bell at the hospital, a practice celebrated by recovering human patients after a bout with cancer.    Eric Abernethy/Randolph Hub

Ring the bell, Quinn!

ASHEBORO — A crowd lined the walls of the room awaiting his arrival. At the far end was a large sign that read “Warrior” with columns of balloons on either side.


Then, at the appointed time, Quinn entered, circled the room to meet his faithful audience, received pats on the head and even a couple of hugs.


The assemblage awaited patiently as he strode to the front, where cameras were gathered. A poem, written especially for the occasion, was read.


On cue, Quinn reached up and rang a bell, several times for good measure. The golden retriever was celebrating his lymphoma going into remission.


Quinn is one of two therapy dogs at Randolph Health. A third, Chelsey, died recently but the other, Cooper, continues to provide comfort for patients and staff alike.


Marsha Rogers, Quinn’s owner, has worked with therapy dogs for more than 30 years. She was looking for a therapy dog when she found Quinn amongst a litter.


“There were three little boys running around and one sitting all laid back,” Rogers said. “That’s the one for me.”


Under Rogers’ care, Quinn became a certified therapy dog through Therapy Dogs International.


A release by Randolph Health said: “Quinn has had an immeasurable impact on staff and patients at Randolph Health. During the pandemic, Quinn offered staff so much comfort and love during an unimaginable time in history. Every staff member has been positively affected by Quinn’s calming and supportive presence and we love to spoil him with treats. 


“Quinn was diagnosed with lymphoma in June 2023, and because Marsha has pet insurance for Quinn, she was able to secure a chemotherapy regimen for him. His last treatment was Nov. 27. The good news is that he is now in remission!”


Rogers said the type of cancer affecting Quinn is treatable but not curable. She said it likely will come back and at that time they’ll look at more treatments.


Asked how she knew he was ill, Rogers said that she had undergone knee replacement and had to be away from her animals during recovery. When she returned to them after a couple of weeks, she noticed that Quinn was not eating. 


A veterinarian diagnosed his condition as lymphoma and scheduled 12 rounds of chemotherapy, which was tough for the dog. But the results were encouraging.


Patty Cox, director of ICU, PCU and SPU, had helped start the therapy pet program at Randolph Health. Then, after Quinn’s cancer was brought into remission, someone suggested that he ring the bell to celebrate, as is the practice with recovering cancer patients.


Cox, from her woodworking shop, crafted a custom wooden holder for the bell. Rogers practiced with Quinn every night so he would be prepared to ring the bell at her command. 


“Pet therapy has been important, especially since COVID,” Cox said. “Quinn was just amazing, to see the joy he brought.”


Cox wrote the poem that was read by Jen Hamilton, a registered nurse and founder of Hot Mess Express, a group of mothers and caregivers who help other moms during times of need.


Hamilton is also a TikTok influencer with more than 3.3 million followers.


Quinn’s poem

It’s impossible to describe through words or by pen, 

the joy you have brought us and the comfort you have been.

When COVID lingered on with no end in sight

You came through our doors like a beacon of light

Your visits were timely and much needed too

No one was aware the battle soon facing you

Lymphoma hit hard like a punch in the gut

But you fought like a true warrior and kicked cancer’s butt!